Most researchers work hard to find ways to understand how the different generations view one another and how the world around them has shaped the views they now hold. Millennials are often the children or grandchildren of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers and in recent years have been studied the most to understand how the world around us is changing. Even though, there is no certain year range for who is considered a millennial, one of the most popular research centers in the United States, Pew Research Center, has labeled those who were born between 1981-1996 as Millennials (Dimock). One question that has arisen is how better off are millennials financially and socially than the previous generations? In other words, how is the way of life of millennials different from Baby Boomers and Gen Xers?
If someone is a Baby Boomer or a Gen Xer, they mostly view millennials as entitled and lazy people with no ambition for success. Also, Baby boomers accuse Millennials of being impatient and even naive for wanting to find a job they can work while traveling with their laptop (Cole). Although the older generations see Millennials as the generation that has never matured or grown up, they have had to face the consequences of the decisions caused by the older generations, as a result, most have a poor financial status and will end up developing more health problems than the older generations.
An article by The Washington Post suggests that Baby boomers are the ones responsible for the current state of the economy. The article says that boomers – the generation that was born into some of the strongest job growth in the history of America, gobbled up the best parts, and left its children and grandchildren with some bones to pick through and a big bill to pay, (Tankersley). It supports the view that due to the way the Boomer generation mishandled the economy, their future generations were left to suffer the negative consequences. The Boomers continue to benefit from the younger generations because the article mentions that Social Security benefits increase faster than inflation, [so] boomers will enjoy bigger checks from the program, in real terms, than their parents did (Tankersley). The author implies that our unstable economy is a result of the selfishness of the Boomer generation. The Boomer generation benefited greatly from the economy after the war and was irresponsible in planning for their retirement. Some Gen Xers and Millennials not only have to earn enough money to pay for their own expenses but also sometimes their parents, the Baby Boomers, who neglected to save money for when they reached old age. As a result, Millennials have had to work more to try to meet their expenses and most have not been able to achieve what the older generations achieved financially when they were the same age due to an economy that has not changed to benefit them.
To add on, the Pew Research Center mentioned that the older generations were the beneficiaries of good timing in everything from a strong economy to a long rise in housing prices (Kotkin). Kotkin also mentions that Millennials suffered the most during the Great Recession of 2008. The median net worth of people under 35 decreased by 37 % during 2005-2010, while it only fell by 13% in those over 65. Also, the wealth gap today between the younger and older Americans now stands as the widest on record. Due to the debt the older generations have accumulated, they are not leaving the workforce which means that the inexperienced Millennials are left without the opportunity to get a job. One of the main reasons that Millennials have not been able to thrive financially is because the jobs that were once reserved for graduates have been filled by more experienced workers from older generations. The older generations continue to negatively affect the younger generation by not allowing them to learn and use the degree they earned to further their career. Furthermore, the older generations hinder the success of the younger generation by neglecting to allow them to further their career to meet their everyday expenses and instead force them to take on multiple jobs not related to their major to survive financially.
According to an article published by the Boston Globe, a crushing debt is making a generation put off living their lives (Humphreys). In that article, the writer argues that due to the high amount of student loan debt she acquired more than a decade ago, she feels that she cannot afford to have kids. She supports her view by mentioning that in 2013 a survey by the American Student Assistance found that forty-three percent of student borrowers have delayed starting a family because of those loans, (Humphreys). The writer highlights that student loan debt has increased by 84 percent between 2008 and 2014 [and] is the only type of consumer debt not decreasing (Humphreys). Additional critical information that the writer mentions is that due to the high amount of student loan debt acquired 29% [of millennials] are delaying marriage, 63% say that it has affected their ability to buy a car, 75% say that it has affected their ability to buy a home, and 73% are putting off saving for retirement or making investments (Humphreys). Overall, the article published by the Boston Globe suggests that Millennials are failing to develop a better financial status due to the increasing student loan debt, and the lack of opportunities to refinance those loans. Thus, millennials have had to put aside some adulthood rites, like having a family or purchasing a home or a car to pay off the loans they took out to have an education.
A new study found that Millennials will become the first generation to be less healthy than their parents by the time they reach middle age, (Said-Moorhouse). The researchers found that Millennials are struggling with housing, employment, and social relationships, which have the potential of greatly impacting their health in the years ahead (Said-Moorhouse). There has been evidence linking housing problems to stress, anxiety, and depression which are seen in higher rates in Millennials. The same study found that Millennials are more likely to not have a stable working environment which could make them more susceptible to smoking and alcohol consumption. A sociologist at the University College London, Morag Henderson said that young adults are facing more stressful conditions than older generations, such as an increasingly competitive labor market, rising costs of housing, an increase in higher education costs, and issues of self-identity and confidence driven by more widespread use of social media, (Said-Moorhouse). The factors that contribute to a poor financial status in the lives of Millennials will eventually cause them health problems when they get older. As a result, it is safe to assume that the poor financial status of Millennials caused by the mishandling of the economy by older generations will contribute negatively in the future health of Millennials.
In conclusion, even though the older generations see Millennials as incompetent in terms of developing a financial status, Millennials are one of the most hardworking people in the workforce. They work multiple jobs because they cannot afford to cover their expenses, cannot find a better job because the older generations are staying longer in the workforce and companies tend to hire individuals with more experience than recent graduates. Millennials have had to face an economy that has not worked for them because the older generations abused the economy leaving the future generations to deal with a poor economy. The rising costs of housing and student loan debt do not allow Millennials to thrive financially which makes them feel hopeless for the future which contributes to a poor health. Furthermore, Millennials are part of the generation that has been forced to face the negative aspects of an economy that hasn’t allowed them to develop a stable financial status, even with the multiple jobs they take on. In response to older generations, Millennials are not lazy, incompetent, or ambitionless they have had to face an economy that you passed on that was not designed to benefit them, but they have managed to find a way to survive even if it means that they have to give up having a family, buying a home or a car, saving for their retirement, and even their future health to try to develop a stable financial status to live better in the future. The way of life of Millennials is decent considering the world they were passed on by previous generations.
Cole, Nicolas. The Real Reason Baby Boomers And Millennials Don’t See Eye To Eye (Written
By A Millennial). Inc.com, Mansueto Ventures, 20 Jan. 2017, www.inc.com/nicolas-cole/the-real-reason-baby-boomers-and-millennials-dont-see-eye-to-eye-written-by-a-mi.html.
Dimock, Michael. Defining Generations: Where Millennials End and Post-Millennials Begin.
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Kotkin, Joel. ARE MILLENNIALS THE SCREWED GENERATION? Newsweek,
Newsweek, 16 July 2012, www.newsweek.com/are-millennials-screwed-generation-65523.
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